Why Instagram and Dailybooth suck

UPDATE (4 February,2012): I gather Instagram is “much better” than when I first wrote this post. However, when taking a photo with Instagram (not importing from Camera Roll) the only EXIF data stored on the original image (not the image Instragram crops to a square and posts in your feed; two images are saved in your Camera Roll) is the orientation, location data (if you have geolocation enabled in Instagram), colour space, and the compression type (JPEG). No time/date created timestamp, nor device used. Yup, Instagram is still horrible from a photographers/geeks perspective.

Recently, I have noticed many of my high school friends and other acquaintances using Instagram. (Though, not as many as the amount of Facebook friends signing up for Pinterest though—holy cow!) Hence, I’ve begun following them and checking Instagram more often because — for some — that’s the only place they post photos.

PSA: Path is not the same as Instagram. Even though Path has similar filters (I recently coined these filters as “Instafilters”), it is not Instagram.

If you’d like to read my EXACT feelings about both Instagram and Dailybooth, then read Laurie Voss’ post entitled “Why I really, really hate Instagram“.

I’m just going to add a short addendum to his post with regards to technical data.


One thing that infuriates me more than anything with photography and photographs is when they don’t contain accurate metadata (read: EXIF). Mobile applications such as Instagram, Dailybooth, and even Gowalla (though I hope Gowalla fixes this soon — UPDATE (4 February, 2012): They did fix this in 2011, but Gowalla was bought by Facebook and decommissioned as an app) strip the EXIF data (date, time, exposure, location, etc.) from the photograph. This fundamentally turns a highly informative digital photo into a photograph taken with film/polaroid (no data).

I understand if professional photographers decide to strip out exposure data because it’s no longer accurate after editing, but removing date, time, camera type, and location (if you share location) is absolutely amateur.

Both Instagram and Dailybooth are single-function services and (as said many times in Laurie’s post) they absolutely destroy your photographs. It’s just as simple to use other free services like Flickr, picplz, or Twitpic — which keep your photos in their original form.

Stop deliberately destroying your own memories. Stop using the filters on Instagram.

Here’s my first and only photo I’ll ever post to Instagram: A sideways tree (also posted to Flickr [EXIF]).

9 Responses to “Why Instagram and Dailybooth suck”

  1. Jan Says:

    How much do these programs suck if you don’t wreck/strip the original photo of its data and just edit a copy of it? That’s what I do.

  2. bbautista Says:

    I’m really liking picplz; wish more people used it.

  3. djsteen Says:

    Ditto! Picplz is awesome. I feel like it has a lot of Flickr-like functionality (maps, tagging, time/date info, commenting, faves, etc.) which attracts me to it.

    The only reason I haven’t been using it more is because Pixelpipe doesn’t crosspost to it (yet).

  4. djsteen Says:

    Editing a copy is giddy. That’s what I do with anything. I reckon we’re in the minority though, Jan.

  5. Instash It Says:

    have a looksie at Badger, launching at SXSW, keeps all exif data, plugs it on a map, and well have a look, still in beta, but launching soon with an iPhone app to boot.

  6. Instash It Says:

    have a looksie at Badger, launching at SXSW, keeps all exif data, plugs it on a map, and well have a look, still in beta, but launching soon with an iPhone app to boot.

  7. djsteen Says:

    It looks like Pixelpipe doesn’t have any plans to incorporate Picplz: http://twitter.com/pixelpipe/status/50012773316431872 🙁

  8. Grayce Says:

    I find the loss of data in posted photos so unnerving, no names, situation/ location and no date is the clincher, we are in a world of no time to add details, to make for a more worthy post of photos which deserve to be treated with more respect. I loved Laurie Voss’ article and historically, she is right on.
    Finding a photo without data is such a feeling of loss…..G

  9. David H Says:

    Good point about keeping the data. It seems you’re right about Flickr making the Exif tags accessible throught their API. But I’m not able to extract the ones coming out of Twitpic. Are you sure their Exif tags are also available. 

Leave a Reply